A parliamentary panel has urged the government to establish a concrete channel for redressal of grievances of migrant Indian workers and finalise a draft emigration bill for presenting before Parliament.
The Committee on External Affairs, in its report tabled in Parliament on "Issues relating to migrant workers including appropriate legislative framework and skill development initiatives for prospective emigrants", said the existence of numerous grievance redressal mechanisms made it a cumbersome and painstaking process for the already aggrieved migrant workers and their families.
The MADAD portal and its Pravasi Bharatiya Sahayata Kendra represented a qualitative improvement over the existing procedure for handling consular grievances, the panel headed by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said.
However, it said the government should establish a concrete channel for remedies and redressal, including fixing a timeline and informing the migrant workers about the same through media campaigns and pre-departure training.
The process of emigration by Emigration Check Required (ECR) category workers was presently regulated under the Emigration Act, 1983 and enforced by the Protector General of Emigrants (PGE) with the help of 10 offices of the Protector of Emigrants, the panel noted.
Successive secretaries from the Ministry of External Affairs and the erstwhile Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs had repeatedly assured the committee about the earliest introduction of the Emigration Bill in Parliament, it said.
The committee said it was of the strong view that in light of the momentous changes in migration patterns, the legal provisions contained in the present Act were inadequate to effectively deal with the diverse issues confronting the migrant workers.
The prolonged delay in the introduction of the draft Emigration Bill had been an issue of grave concern, it added.
The justifications and assurances offered by the ministry for putting the bill in abeyance were untenable and unconvincing, the panel said.
"If the country of origin is negligent about its duties towards its migrant workers, how can we have expectations from the destination countries?," the report said.
The committee "strongly" recommended that the government should take serious cognizance of the matter and accord it the highest-level priority.
The bill may be finalised urgently and presented to Parliament without any further delay, it said.
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